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Iguodala, 76ers hand Suns first Eastern Conference road loss

Mar 1, 2007 - 4:37 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- The Philadelphia 76ers did something no other Eastern Conference team could do.

Andre Iguodala scored 24 points and Willie Green added 20 as the Sixers posted a 99-94 triumph over the Phoenix Suns, who suffered their first road loss against the East.

The win also helped Philadelphia (20-38) avoid getting swept in the season series against Phoenix for the third year in a row.

"A win is a win, but certainly playing against Phoenix knowing they're coming in with 14 straight wins against Eastern Conference opponents is a big win for us," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks. "Phoenix, being as good as they are, we tried to come in and put the focus on winning. Certainly playing against Phoenix is a big win for us."

"We want to try to get on a roll," Philadelphia forward Kyle Korver said. "I know that there are a lot of people who don't want us to get on a winning streak. We're not here just to get better and lose. We're here to win. We've been focused the last couple of months and we've had our ups and downs but we've done pretty good."

Green, who started in place of injured rookie Rodney Carney, was untouchable in the opening quarter, scoring 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

"I know that Phoenix is the kind of team that plays up and down and that's my kind of game," Green said. "I didn't know If I was going to have a big night. I just came out and just tried to play my game."

Philadelphia led by as many as 14 points, but Phoenix cut the deficit to 65-64 in the third quarter on consecutive baskets by reigning MVP Steve Nash with 5 1/2 minutes to play.

But the 76ers were able to create some distance behind an impressive 10-0 surge with 11:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.

However, the Suns battled back once again, tying the game at 84-84 when Leandro Barbosa drained a wide-open 3-pointer from the left corner with 4:25 left.

Andre Miller connected on an 18-footer and Korver made a pair of free throws for the Sixers, who grabbed a four-point lead two minutes later.

"We were really aggressive," said Iguodala, who had seven rebounds and seven assists. "We just happened to get more runs than they did. We would get a spurt here or a spurt there, and get a few stops here and a few stops there on defense."

Barbosa's shot from the arc closed the Suns within 88-87 at the 2:16 mark. But on the ensuing possession, Iguodala sank a 3-pointer of his own to keep Phoenix at bay.

"We decided that we were going to pick-and-roll with Joe Smith and myself," Iguodala said. "Kurt Thomas switched out on me and I knew that he would follow on top of the ball, and I got a good look at the basket."

Amare Stoudemire had 31 points and 14 rebounds and Nash added 23 and nine assists for the Suns, who shot 43 percent (38-of-87) and surrendered 21 second-chance points.

"We just didn't make enough shots," Nash said. "They played a good game and we played a subpar game, and they beat us. We usually win on back-to-backs. I don't know what it was. Someone out there wasn't going to let us win all 15 road games in the East."

The loss kept the Suns from becoming the first team to sweep all its road games against Eastern Conference foes in one season.

"We just didn't pull it off," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Give them credit"

Phoenix was without All-Star Shawn Marion, who sat out due to a hand and quadriceps injury. He ranks third on the team in points (18.4) and first in rebounds (10.2).

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